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The Buffalo Bills' offensive line will be down two key members Sunday when it's administered one of the toughest tests the NFL has to offer.
Rookie left tackle Cordy Glenn and right guard Kraig Urbik were ruled out for Sunday's game against San Francisco because of ankle injuries, and it doesn't sound like they'll be ready for the following game in Arizona, either.
"I would say it's going to be a week or two. It may be two minimum on both of them, but we're not going to rule out the second game today," Bills coach Chan Gailey said Monday. "I've not been very good about doing that lately [setting timetables for an injured player to return], so we're going to say it's probably two but I don't know about that."
The timing is less than ideal. The 49ers are ranked fifth against the run this season, allowing just 79.5 yards per game. That's actually slightly more than they allowed last season, when their 77.2 yards per game led the NFL.
"Great defense," said Chris Hairston, who will replace Glenn at left tackle. "The O-line takes pride in playing against good teams and doing what we can to assert our dominance. I'm sure this week is going to be a tough task. . I think this week is going to show how this team [can] come together."
Both Hairston and right guard Chad Rinehart, who will replace Urbik, have some experience. Hairston started seven games last season as a rookie, while Rinehart has made 19 starts in his five-year career, including 12 last season.
"It's not your ideal situation, obviously, but we've got guys that we have a comfort level with, that have played in games, so at least maybe we're ahead of the game compared to two years ago," Gailey said.
Urbik, who confirmed he's got a right high ankle sprain, was in a walking boot Monday. He was hurt in the first quarter of Sunday's loss to New England.
"You can't really avoid it if a guy falls on your legs," he said. "It's a part of football and it happens sometimes and unfortunately it's happened to me each of the past three years."
Urbik missed three games last season because of knee injuries, and also went on injured reserve in the final month of the 2010 season because of a knee injury.
Hairston started training camp in competition with Glenn for the left tackle job, but it never materialized after he was forced to play right tackle because Erik Pears was slow to recover from offseason surgery.
"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't frustrating, but that's how the game is," Hairston said of missing out on a starting role coming out of camp. "You've just got to understand your role on the team and whenever my name is called, I've got to be ready to do what I've got to do.
Hairston has been rotating with Pears, playing 35 pecent of the team's snaps so far this season.
Rinehart played sparingly until Sunday, when he came in after Urbik was hurt and played 54 of 69 snaps.
"It is always tough disrupting that chemistry, and we had some continuity going there," Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said.
"Fortunately for us, the two guys stepping in have been here and have played. In that sense, bringing in guys that have experience in this system does help. It is something we will see as the week goes on how they do and how the other guys are doing. It is just something we will have to deal with.
"I think we expect that they are going to get in there and do their job. I do not think you can go into a game and change who you are because of one or two pieces up front. We expect guys to come in, step up and play well. We are not going to change who we are because of what is going on up front."
In other injury news, Gailey said safety Jairus Byrd suffered a bruised hip against New England.
"It'll take a few days to get it moving again, but I think he'll be fine," Gailey said.
Wide receiver Ruvell Martin, who's missed the last two games, is suffering from a left high ankle sprain. He ran Monday on a specialized treadmill, one that allows him to put less than his full body weight on the ankle, and is expected to go through another workout today.
He'll meet with trainers afterward to decide when he can try and return to the practice field.

jskurski@buffnews.com